If the 49ers are going to trade for star quarterback Deshaun Watson, there might be no time like the present.
A pair of reports Saturday indicate that the 25-year-old is fed up with the Houston Texans and owner Cal McNair after the organization hired Nick Caserio as its general manager without consulting Watson.
"He just wants out," a source close to Watson told Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop in a story published Saturday morning, covering executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby's consolidation of power in Houston's front office.
"Oh, boy -- Houston, you still have a problem," Chris Mortensen said Saturday on ESPN's "Postseason NFL Countdown (h/t 247 Sports' Garrett Stepien). "We talked about Deshaun Watson last week and his unhappiness with owner Cal McNair. Friday, Cal McNair issued an apology, said he's texted with Deshaun Watson.
"But sources close to Watson say this is bigger than firing Jack Easterby, the front office executive whom McNair says he won't fire. He says -- this source says -- that unless Cal McNair can fire himself, Deshaun Watson is not about to change his mind that he does not want anything to do with the Texans going forward."
Watson is coming off the best season of his four-year career. A three-time Pro Bowl QB, Watson completed 70.2 percent of his passes and threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns with just seven interceptions in 2020. The former two marks were career highs, and the latter is a career low.
The Texans went 4-12 despite Watson's dominance, with the 2016 first-round pick unable to carry a team that had been slowly dismantled and diminished over the last three seasons. That has come to a head during a critical offseason, with Houston needing to revamp its front office, hire a head coach and rebuild a cap-strapped roster in the absence of draft capital.
Watson wanted the Texans to build "a winning culture," Bishop and Vrentas reported Saturday that the QB told McNair. McNair, in turn, promised Watson would be consulted. He wasn't, and the team also failed to arrange an interview with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy during Kansas City's bye week. That means the Texans can't interview Bieniemy, who QB Patrick Mahomes raved about to Watson, until after the Chiefs' season ends.
Those missteps reportedly have boiled over Watson's once-simmering frustration. It's questionable whether the 49ers have enough draft capital and assets to trade for Watson, but their leverage could be at an all-time high. Watson has a no-trade clause and can control his destination, and he doesn't seem to want that to be Houston.
"He is one unhappy camper and has no plans to be with the Houston Texans anytime soon -- if ever," Adam Schefter said Saturday on ESPN's "Postseason NFL Countdown."